Raven: Right – I’ve been writing a lot lately. Time to make someone else do it for me, for a bit! Introducing our Skipper Ad, who you may recognise from our Vodcast series, amongst other things. Ad is going to give you one of the most valuable lessons in product creation you will ever learn.
Take it away, Ad!
You’re obviously familiar with the concept of ‘try before you buy’, and that makes perfect sense, to you right? Well, flip that and you have a strategy you must employ when creating your own products:
Sell before you create!
Yep you heard that right: sell your product or service before you even create it.
Because you could spend huge quantities of time and money creating something that won’t sell.
And that sucks!
I’m certainly not suggesting that what you create won’t be awesome and offer great value to your prospects, but all too often business owners get so attached to how amazing their product is, that they refuse to believe that everyone won’t want it.
This isn’t some dodgy, underhanded strategy either, some of the most famous companies in the world do exactly this.
Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, you’re probably aware of the ‘product launches’ they do. Remember good old Steve Jobs addressing the world in his amazing keynotes showing you all the amazing things about the iPod, iPhone, iPad etc., that you couldn’t actually buy for months?
You see exactly the same with car manufacturers: they showcase their newest model at the big international shows in the full knowledge it can’t be purchased for 6, 12, 18+ months time.
There are two main reasons for this:
1. You create a buzz and excitement about the product
2. You can build a list of people that are primed and ready to buy as soon as the product goes on sale which enables you to plan for that day
In Apple’s case, they know how many units they need to produce by the launch date.
Oh, and one more thing:
3. You get paid to create your product!
Here’s what you need to do when you’re looking at ‘creating’ your next product or service, or even your first. It’s probably even more important with your first as you don’t have any existing data to give you an idea of how the market will react to your opportunities.
Let’s assume you’ve done some form of market research and you know that there is a gap for your new product.
The next thing you need to do is to actually sell it. I’m not suggesting you just hammer your list with a sales message for your product. You need to position it and essentially build a sub-list of people that fit the criteria that the product serves.
Do this with content first and foremost engaging with your prospects and then you can position your product and ultimately make it available for purchase.
One crucial thing to remember at this stage: make sure you don’t promise immediate delivery of said product!
When you’ve sold your product that doesn’t exist, now what?
In your sales collateral you’ve obviously outlined what the product is all about, how it works and with what mechanism it will be delivered (email, video, membership site etc.) so now you have two important pieces of information.
1. What the product actually made up of
2. If anyone is interested in your new product
Let’s assume for a moment that you have made sales. You know that you have people that have bought your product: a 10 module training programme made up of emails, videos and access to a membership site, for example (I will be talking you through an successful product launch of this type in a future edition).
So now you know what you have to create. Nothing makes you take action quicker than having people waiting for your product.
When it comes to the interest in your product: if you make some sales, then happy days! If you don’t then no harm no foul, you’ve not wasted all that time for nothing.
But what if you only sell a very small volume or the product, so small that in fact that it’s not worth the countless hours required to create the product?
The way I see it you have two choices:
1. Just go ahead and build the product for those few people (I don’t advise this option)
2. Create something different that leverages your time better and still adds the value the customers signed up for
Let’s take the 10 module training programme as the product you’ve sold.
What I would do is to contact the few people that purchased and say: “Hey, I know you ordered X, but for the same price I can offer you the 10 module training programme on a 1:1 basis for the same price.”
You can position this to offer higher value with a more 1:1 experience whilst giving them the value over a shorter time period. The will get the results they wanted from the programme, quicker and you will hold your position.
The other option of course is to refund the people that purchased the product. This isn’t ideal, but it’s certainly better than wasting all that time, money and resources creating the product in the first place.
I have countless examples of business owners that have spent months creating something that goes no further than the initial launch. The important message here is: even though you may think you have the best product or service in the world, you must make sure your prospects feel the same way.
If you’d like to find out more about product creation (specifically, coaching product creation), we’re holding a live workshop on the 26th of August (2016). Click the banner below to find out more!